Moments with Marilyn

Now I have some free time to tell you about my newest novel. It is another novel about West Texas. My 6 the one. It’s about a fictitious town called Tuckersville and about some people who kno…

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Moments with Marilyn

Today was All Saints Day at church. What does that mean to me? It is a remembrance of all the folks who have lived and died who we take time out to remember. Hebrews 12:1 tells us about these people who have gone on before us. They surround us and cheer us on. They want us to make it to the goal also . As a result we are teminded to lay aside every weight and sin that so easily besets us and to run the race with patience. That’s some good advice.

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Moments with Marilyn

Today is destined to be a leisurely Sunday after I get home from church. I have already had a huge mug of flavored coffee and some cinnamon coffee cake. I have a big yellow and white cat sitting on the arm of my chair trying to stea a bite of my coffee cake…

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Moments with Marilyn

Today is a free day in my busy retired schedule. The thing I have chosen to do this morning is to work on my novel. I am finishing my sixth novel about small fictitious towns in West Texas. Ripken often ask me, did you ever live there? No, but I have visited often. I like the friendly, unpretentious people one finds in these small towns. My last novel was entitled Mill Town USA. Let me tell you about it.

Mill Town USA is about a smal town in West Texas. After baking summer heat, a dorm unexpectedly hits the area devastating many businesses and homes in the deteriorating old town. Russell McCarty,a longtime rancher , brings the lives of the towns people into focus s he chats with long-time friends as welol as helping a stranded motorist along a Deserted road.

 

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Mill Town USA

Mill Town USA is another one of Dr. Murphree’s novels about a small West Texas town. After baking summer heat, a storm unexpectedly hits the area devastating many businesses and homes in the already deteriorating town.  Russell McCarty, a long time rancher, brings the lives of the towns people into focus as he chats with friends as well s helping a stranded motorist on a deserted road.

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Mill Town USA coming soon

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Mill Town USA is Dr. Murphree’s 24th book and you can preview it on Amazon. com

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Rocking Chairs

                             Rocking Chairs
Introduction: How many have at least one rocking chair in your house? How many have more than one? I have several, and the other day I actually counted them. Going from room to room, I was surprised that there were 12 in all. Today I want to tell you about some of the rocking chairs and things I learned from the people who once owned them. There is an old saying about rocking chairs, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It takes a lot of effort, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” I imagine that some of the people who sat in these rocking chairs had some worries on their minds. Sitting and rocking, they wondered about a lot of the same concerns we have. We can only piece together fragments about their lives.
My rocking chairs are all sizes and shapes, tall ones and short ones; very old and worn ones. The newest chair is about 45 years old.
One day someone will own your rocking chairs. What will they have to say? She was a friendly person, she was an old grouch or a complainer, or he was a lazy person or never treated people good…
1. Kreager’s Chair: I don’t know much about this chair other than it is very, very old. It is a dark wood varnished chair with somewhat of a Victorian design. It belonged to our friend, Kreager, who was 50 years older than I was. He said it was his grandmother’s chair. Kreager was old when we met him but young at heart. He drove a bright red car to church. He lived alone, and one year he said he planted his garden for himself and for me. I said, “No one has every planted a garden for me.” When I was in the hospital he came to visit me and brought me a roll of Lifesavers. Kreager was a very old man with a wrinkled face, his old gray suit hung on him like on a skeleton, and his voice was raspy; but he had a sense of humor and a sparkle in his eyes. The age difference of this friend made no difference. He could chat on any subject.
One day I drove Kreager to the bank, and I drove in the EXIT rather than the entrance. I said, “Don’t you tell Walter that I did that.” He laughed and said, “No, No, I won’t. Walter takes chances too.”
Another day he told us he was getting tired of all the cats in his neighborhood; and that he put one in a cardboard box and tied it up and set it out for the garbage man. I said, “Oh, that’s awful,” but then laughing, he added. “He got out of the box before the garbage man came.”
Walter said he sat in this rocking chair every time he went over to visit him. There were two things that this rocking chair reminds me of.

First Kreager reminded me of a person who had the joy of the Lord in his heart. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). We can have the joy of the Lord even as we get older. The Lord wants us to be involved in life. When he used to go with us to the rest home to do a puppet show, he said he would hand out the programs to the “old people.” And he was the oldest person in the room. Never let your birthdays get you down. You can have the joy of the Lord at any age and look forward to new and exciting things as you walk with the Lord.
Another scripture that reminds me of him is, “[he] that hath friends must show himself friendly…” (Proverbs 18:24). He was an approachable, friendly person and interested in people. Friendship is more than a surface relationship. It has to be a two way street where each person shares their daily experiences with one another. We have to be willing to put ourselves out for other people. Sometimes that costs us our time and money. When new people come to a church it takes more than a casual handshake and a casual, “How are you today” to start a new friendship and make them want to come back. I think sometimes people leave a church service without having made a real connection with any of the people they meet there.
Kreager said that this rocking chair was to go to Walter when he died. He wrote a note and taped it to the bottom of this chair, “At my death this rocking chair belongs to Walter Murphree. He signed and dated it. Today the note is still on the bottom of the chair and it sits in our hallway displaying the first quilt I ever made.
2. The Empty Chair: When my aunt died, I inheritedanother rocking chair. It sat in her living room, but I can never remember anyone sitting in it. Hilda was too busy. She reminded me of Martha in the scriptures always fretting over getting dinner ready on Sundays. She was always serving people and tending to their needs, but she didn’t have time to “sit a spell” or read a book. She did have one hobby that was for herself though. It was raising African violets and daylilies. She taught me how to start African violets from a leaf. Today I have a huge collection of Christmas cactus. Although she had this hobby, she didn’t often go to church to restore her soul. This chair reminds me of the scripture in Psalm 23. Not only do we need to serve others but we need to restore our souls. The 23rd Psalm says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. HE RESTORETH MY SOUL…”

Are you so busy doing church or doing other good things, serving people, serving your family, that you fail to restore your soul by allowing the Shepherd to Lead you beside still waters and to green pastures.
It is our job to put ourselves in the position to be restored rather than to let the cares of life lead us to burn out. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Isaiah 40:31 says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Today our life can have balance—serving and sitting and restoring…
What happened to this chair? No one sits in this chair today either, but it has a purpose. It sits in the hallway and holds our jackets when we come in the house and an occasional teddy bear.

3. The “Gosh Awful Chair”: After Walter’s mother died, we inherited the “Gosh awful chair” which she brought back from San Francisco. It had layers of chipped beige paint on it and layers of upholstery material padding the back and seat. Her dogs had chewed the ends of the rockers and there were teeth marks on both rockers. She was a multitalented person who wrote novels, worked as a bookkeeper at a furniture store into her late 70’s and was a carpenter who was always “improving” things –that is, to her way of thinking. In her 70’s she bought a fixer upper house in San Francisco even putting a skylight in the kitchen when she was in her early 80’s. When she moved to Zanesville she still had a passion for “improving things.” After a day of working hard on one of her many projects and thinking she had “overdone it” and that her heart was acting up, she would sit and rock in this chair until her heart settled back down again. Memories of her sitting in this chair in her kitchen reminded me of the scripture in Ecclesiastes 9:10, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” Can you think of things you are interested in that you apply all of your energy toward getting it done? It could be anything that God has called you and equipped you to do. Whatever your hand finds to do—do it with all your might—do it enthusiastically. Because of her enthusiasm, she accomplished a lot of things. Sometimes we have to pray and find out what God wants us to do. Where is your talent? Where is your calling? If you are just not the right fit for the job, it is a struggle and an all uphill chore to do it. There are other things that once you start working on it, it is 4:00 before you know it. We have to find out what our gifting is and develop it. Whatever your hands find to do—do it with all your might and enthusiasm.

Whatever happened to “the gosh awful rocking chair?” I refinished it and now it is the cat’s favorite chair. Often he curls up there and sleeps on a quilt.
When the owner of this rocking chair died, Walter thought it fitting to bury her with a hammer and saw and a bag of nails.

4. “Old Buttermilk Green”: Probably my favorite chair is one that sat in the big farm kitchen at Grandma’s house. Back in those days everything was painted buttermilk green paint which was sort of a medium color of milky green paint. I can picture the spot in the kitchen where it always sat. When I was little, I always got in that big old chair and rocked. It had a high back, and the paint on the arms was worn down with use. I was told that Mom’s brothers and sisters used to all sit in that chair when they were sick or just feeling bad. It was a chair that provided comfort with a high back. After Grandma died, my aunt lived at the farm for several more years. When she sold the farm, she could not take all of the furniture to her new home. The buttermilk chair was still serviceable but worn looking and the rockers had almost worn through after all those years. I asked if I could have that old rocking chair. At that time I repainted the chair—green but not buttermilk green. It had a prominent place in my bedroom along with the Ethan Allen furniture. Many times Mom sat in the old chair and prayed for people. She was a person who prayed for others and brought encouragement and comfort to many people. She would get ideas on how the Lord wanted her to give to people. Sometimes she would get an idea to take a bag of groceries to someone. Sometimes she would give of her time. Sometimes it was giving money. She was a generous person as was Grandma. They both reminded me of the scripture in Proverbs 11:25, “The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” (A few Cajun meals will do that).

Another translation says, “A generous [person] will prosper; he who refreshes other will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV).

The Message Bible says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”

Another scripture I liked was Isaiah 32:20 “how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.”

Psalm112:5,6 says, “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.”

Whatever happened to “Old Buttermilk?” In 1975 when Walter and I got married, my Dad carried the chair out to the car and loaded it in. He said, “This chair is a piece of junk.” Well, they say, Another person’s junk is another person’s treasure. ”Today it still sits in our bedroom having had a new set of rockers made for it. This chair reminds me of the people who previously owned it who were generous people, and people of faith who did what they could do to help others.

Conclusion: What will people remember about you and your rocking chairs one day? Will they remember you as a person who was approachable and friendly and who took time for you? Will they remember you as being so busy that you didn’t have time for God or anyone else? Will they remember you as a person who was enthusiastic about life and working diligently on the things God has called you to do? Will they remember you as a person who put God first in your life and developed a lifestyle of generosity?

What kind of people ought we to be? II Peter 3:11 sums it up, “…what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” The Message Bible says, “Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? (II Peter 3:11).

Another way of putting it is this, “I’d like TO BE the person my dog THINKS I AM.
copyright 2010 by Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree

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My recent travels

Hello World, Last week we visited San Antonio and were a part of an RV group of 53 people. We went to the San Antonio Fiesta where we went to the river parade. The riverboats were decked out with lights and included some small bands. We had reserved seats and were in row two where we got some good pictures. It was a cool evening and a nice breeze blowing as we enjoyed the parade. But, on Friday it was a different story for the Battle of the Flowers Parade. It was 85 degrees sitting in the hot sun for three hours. That was only halfway through the parade. We went to a spectacular celebration of the coronation of the San Antonio Fiesta Queen where 24 girls were duchesses and their gowns each weighed 75 lbs with a huge jeweled train that sparkled under the lights. The queen’s gown was sparkling white with gems. They told us that some of the gowns cost $40,000. Wow! I guess these girls would have to be from wealthy families. Don’t you think?? We went for delicious prime rib at the Tower of America restaurant which was a 750 ft. tower built for the Hemisphere in the 1960’s. Another day we went to Fredricksburg up in the hill country and visited the wildseed farm where there were fields of brilliant red/orange poppies. We visited the LBJ ranch that day as well. After our stay in San Antonio we went to Lockhart Texas which has four barbeque places and this time tried Black’s Barbeque. It was the most flavorful and tender brisket I have eaten and I would highly recommend going to Lockhart on your next trip. We traveled from there to Breaux Bridge, Louisiana for a trip to Poche’s meat market where you can buy alligator sausauge along with all kinds of other good meat along with lunch there. Best food in town. I had crawfish estouffee (spelling?) but mighty good.
After 3000 miles we got home today and are looking forward to our next venture out of the driveway.
copyright 2010 by Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree.

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The Old Brown Shoes

     Why were they so important? They were scuffed up, faded, and almost worn out. Yet, I couldn’t part with them. It was not that my mother couldn’t afford a new pair of shoes for a little six year old. It was as if this particular pair of brown shoes were my friend, and I couldn’t discard them. We had traveled back and forth to school that year walking along the country path with its dusty uneven terrain. No wonder they were scruffy and faded, but it never occurred to me to shine them. They had faithfully taken me to school in the rainy weather as well as the first skiff of snow. Sometimes we got off the path to check out a new, colorful flower that I had not noticed before. Sometimes we walked along this path late in the day when I was tired. I had many adventures while wearing these old brown shoes.
     One day while coming home from school, I noticed something moving the grass just off the path. It had just rained and the path was muddy. That was unusual I thought because there was no wind blowing the grass. There was no reason that the weeds would be moving. Then I heard a faint sound. I stopped in my tracks. What could it be? My brown shoes were getting wet, and I could feel my sox squishing in the toes of my shoes. Since the shoes were old and scuffed up anyway, I didn’t mind moving off the path into the wet weeds to investigate where the sound was coming froom. I didn’t hear it; then I did. Slowly creeping through the wet grass and listening intently for the direction in which the sound was coming from, I stopped. My sturdy brown shoes had found the treasure. Again peeping out of the tall grass, wet and shivering from the earlier pelting rain, were two tiny kittens, a yellow and white one and a solid yellow striped one. I wondered how they happened to be there abandoned and alone.
     Had I worn a brand new pair of shoes that day, I wouldn’t have dared go off the path getting them muddy and soaking wet. I picked up the tiny fussy kittens and held them close to me trying to dry them off as best I could. That was their lucky day and mine as well thanks to my old brown shoes.

When I got home, my mother reluctantly agreed to let me keep them. Yum Yum and Little Bit became the pampered ones of the household for many years. My old brown shoes had a way of leading me to new and varied experiences and that is why they were so important to me.

copyright 2010 by Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree taken from her new book, The Old Brown Shoes, available at Amazon.com  including 26 pencil drawings and 45 short stories.  Get your copy today.

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